The art in this issue is showing quite a bit of wear and tear, as backgrounds drop out and some characters (in spots) have faces akin to those on the drawings of elementary school artwork. A prime example of this is when the characters are gathered around their foe. I was dialed into Barda’s expression, but Aquagirl’s face is somewhere between a thumbnail sketch and an attempt at cave art.
Ryan Benjamin and John Stanisci appear to have been rushed to finish this issue as there are many panels in this book that only have simple color behind the characters. In some cases, this works for dramatic effect, but in other cases it simply looks amateurish. Other panels are strongly developed and richly detailed, showing the true abilities of this art team. The combination, which isn’t linear, as the good panels and bad are mixed throughout the issue, gives the book an uneven keel equivalent to a pirate whose pegleg has been attacked by beavers.
Adam Beechen has a nice handle on the characters in this issue, and his new Matter Master is a foe that I hope to see return, but completely understand if he doesn’t. After all, how many different ways can a character like Batman (McGinnis) possibly defeat a foe with near-omnipotent abilities? Otherwise, Beechen advances a few subplots around Batman, giving this book a universe that seems lived in.
The solution for taking down Matter Master is simple, yet effective, especially considering the might present in the Justice League. Speaking of said League, the characters there are still fairly thin, but Beechen still manages to find a voice for each one, giving me hope that they’ll get further developed at some point in the near future (sorry, no pun intended there).
This issue has a pair of letters pages in the back, specific to this title, that promise the pattern of three-issue stories (like the one this issue concludes) followed by one-issue spotlight stories that continue to build the comic book version of the “Batman Beyond” universe but shift the focus on other characters. This seems like a reasonable business model and might even help make this title more palatable to readers new to the “Batman Beyond” mythos.